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Rethinking Anthropological Perspectives on Migration$

Graciela S. Cabana and Jeffery J. Clark

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813036076

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813036076.001.0001

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Using Cognitive Semantics to Relate Mesa Verde Archaeology to Modern Pueblo Languages

Using Cognitive Semantics to Relate Mesa Verde Archaeology to Modern Pueblo Languages

Chapter:
(p.111) 6 Using Cognitive Semantics to Relate Mesa Verde Archaeology to Modern Pueblo Languages
Source:
Rethinking Anthropological Perspectives on Migration
Author(s):

Scott G. Ortman

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813036076.003.0007

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter proposes a new method for relating protolanguages to archaeological complexes based on the cognitive process known as conceptual metaphor. Material metaphors of the people who created archaeological complexes can be deciphered from patterns in material culture that conform to empirical generalizations on figurative speech in everyday language use. The metaphors of proto-languages can also be reconstructed through etymology, polysemy, and semantic change across cognates in a language family. As a result, archaeological complexes can be related to protolanguages using conceptual metaphors as the common currency. A case study that links Mesa Verde archaeology to the Tewa pueblo language is presented to illustrate the utility of this approach.

Keywords:   archaeology, linguistics, migration, conceptual metaphor, U.S. Southwest

In this chapter I develop a new approach to integrating archaeology and language in the study of ancient migrations. The very existence of language families implies that the movement of speech communities has been a common feature of human history, even if such movements are rare today. Rouse 1986:175–180) recognized this in distinguishing population movements—which involve the colonization of a previously uninhabited area or the absorption/displacement of indigenous people by newcomers—from immigration—which involves an intrusion of individuals or small groups into an already-populated area. My approach focuses on cases in which the present-day speakers of a language live in a different area than past speakers, and in this sense it focuses on archaeolinguistic traces of past population movements.

The approach I develop here focuses on a cognitive process called conceptual metaphor, which is a common denominator of material culture and language. Previous studies have shown that the conceptual metaphors of ancestral speech communities are embedded in the documented languages of their descendants. Recent archaeological research shows that these metaphors are also expressed in archaeological material culture. Based on these findings I suggest it is possible to relate archaeological complexes to protolanguages by correlating conceptual systems as they are expressed in the archaeological record and in potentially related languages. I will first review current methods for relating archaeology and language and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Then I will introduce conceptual metaphor as an additional basis for linking archaeology and language, show how one can reconstruct protometaphors from linguistic and archaeological evidence, and apply these methods in a case study that traces the migration of a specific speech community from its homeland in the Mesa Verde region of the U.S. Southwest.

(p.112) Background

The essays in this and other recent edited volumes (e.g., Blench and Spriggs 1997, 1998, 1999a,1999b; Bellwood and Renfrew 2003; Madsen and Rhode 1994) illustrate that there is widespread interest in the integration of archaeology and language. My own interest in bringing these fields together stems from an awareness of the quantum leap in understanding that typically follows decipherment of ancient scripts. One only need compare Thompson's Maya History and Religion (1970) with Friedel, Schele, and Parker's Maya Cosmos (1993) to appreciate the revolution in understanding that occurs once the language spoken in archaeological sites is known. It is obvious that if we can agree on the language or languages spoken at archaeological sites, we can obtain a much deeper understanding of the culture that created these sites by integrating the precise spatial, chronological, and behavioral data of archaeology with the rich conceptual data embedded in language.

The benefits of such integration have yet to be widely felt for nonliterate societies because for such societies our only option is to relate archaeological complexes to protolanguages reconstructed using the comparative method. Kirch and Green 2001 provide an exemplary study of this process for Polynesia, but the case they examine is relatively straightforward because all Polynesian languages are genetically related and most islands are still inhabited by descendants of their original colonizers. Most other regions of the world have experienced longer and more complex histories of human occupation that involve migration, admixture, ethnogenesis, and language shift in addition to demic expansion and phylogenesis (Moore 1994, 2001). In these more complex situations it is not safe to assume that ancestral forms of present-day languages were spoken in the archaeological sites of a region or that the language of these sites was ancestral to any documented language.

Although Kirch and Green show that it is possible to integrate archaeological and linguistic prehistory, current methods for doing so do not always provide clear or definitive answers, as debates over the Numic expansion (Fowler, this volume; Madsen and Rhode 1994), the proto-Indo European homeland (Anthony 2007; Mallory 1989, 1997; Renfrew 1987), and the language of Teotihuacan (Dakin and Wichmann 2000; Kaufman and Justeson 2007) attest. Nevertheless, there is too much to be gained from successful integration for us to ignore the challenge.

(p.113) Existing Methods for Correlating Archaeology and Language

In the recent archaeolinguistic literature a variety of methods are used to relate protolanguages to archaeological complexes. Each of these methods can produce plausible correlations, but in many cases there are disagreements over results or results differ depending on the method used. In the following paragraphs I outline these methods and offer some observations on their strengths and weaknesses.

The first method focuses on pattern matching: speech-community histories generated from application of the comparative method are fitted to culture-historical sequences generated from archaeological study. An excellent example is provided by Ross (1998), who relates a series of speech-community events (SCEs) in the history of the Austronesian languages of central Papua to the archaeological record of this region. Ross (1997) also provides the most lucid discussion I have seen on the types of SCEs that trigger language change, how and why language changes occur, and how these events can be reconstructed using the comparative method. Ross argues that all SCEs (such as differentiation, division, and contact) are manifestations of overall change in social interaction networks and therefore should influence material culture sequences in a region as well.

There is no reason to doubt that the kinds of events that bring about a change in speech communities should also exert some influence on material culture, but whether there are necessary relationships between SCEs and material culture patterns is not at all clear. In fact, the archaeological literature on material culture and social identity (Carr 1995; Clark 2001; Stark 1998) suggests that any such relationships will be more complex than a superficial analysis can reveal. In addition, glottochronology has proven to be more misleading than helpful in dating SCEs, so the pattern-matching approach cannot consider the timing of events in matching up linguistic and archaeological sequences. In fact, Ross (1997) advocates dating SCEs using archaeological correlations. Given these problems, the chance of incorrect correlations based on superficial similarities between linguistic and archaeological event sequences appears to be relatively high, especially in cases where the archaeological record is poorly known, material culture is poorly preserved, or the social history of an area is complex.

The second technique is referred to by Campbell (1998) as linguistic migration theory. This technique combines two principles to estimate the geographical area in which a protolanguage was spoken. The first principle is called the “center of gravity” principle (Sapir 1949 [1916]): the homeland of a language family tends to be in the area where the most members of higher-order (p.114) subgroups of a language family occur, and the distribution of lower-order subgroups reflects the direction of later migration or spread of speech communities in the family. The second principle is known as the “least moves” principle: the homeland is also most likely to be in the area that would require the fewest number of migrations to produce the resulting distribution of languages and dialects. The underlying assumption of both principles is that when a language family diversifies, the various daughter languages are more likely to stay close to the region where they diversified as opposed to moving very far or very frequently (Campbell 1998).

Linguistic migration theory has been used to postulate the homeland of the Athapaskan (Sapir 1949 [1916]) and Austronesian (Bellwood 2005) language families, but it may be misleading in the case of the Uto-Aztecan (Fowler 1972; Hill 2001; Lamb 1958; Miller 1986), Kiowa-Tanoan (Davis 1959; Hale and Harris 1979; Ortman 2009; Trager 1967), and Indo-European (Anthony 2007; Mallory 1989; Renfrew 1987) families, depending on one's point of view. Given these conflicting results, Campbell (1998) cautions that “it is not difficult to imagine rather straightforward situations in which linguistic migration theory would fail to produce reliable results” (359–360). Also, linguistic migration theory can only be applied to diverse language families for which the branching pattern is clear, and it does not deal with time depth. One must use other methods to determine how long ago the protolanguage was spoken and thus which archaeological complex in the homeland area was most likely created by the speakers of this language.

A third technique used for determining linguistic homelands is known as the “words and things” approach. In this method, reconstructed terms for plants and animals are related to their natural ranges and the homeland of the protolanguage is inferred to lie in the area where these ranges overlap (e.g., Fowler 1983; Kirch and Green 2001; Mallory 1989). With the homeland thus defined, one then looks for an archaeological culture of an appropriate age for the protolanguage, as in the maximum diversity method. The “words and things” method can be more persuasive than the pattern-matching method because it does not require linguistic and cultural phylogenies with similar structures. However, there are still difficulties (see Renfrew 1987), including the possibility of climate change or human activity influencing the distributions of plants and animals, the tendency of humans to apply old words or loanwords to new things, and the problem of estimating the age of a protolanguage. There is also a more subtle and thorny problem caused by the fact that the real-world referents of words change over time, and as a result it is often difficult to determine whether a reconstructed morpheme refers (p.115) to a specific species, a category of plants or animals, or even a more abstract concept derived from the characteristics of a plant or animal.

The final method used to relate protolanguages to the archaeological record is a variant of the “words and things” approach in which protolexicons for technological innovations such as maize agriculture, horse domestication, wheeled transport, or metallurgy are related to their manifestations in the archaeological record (e.g., Anthony 2007; Hill 2001; Mallory 1989). The attraction of this method is that it seeks out interpenetrating evidence, by which I mean something in the actual content of a language that is also expressed in material culture: the dating and spatial locations of archaeological finds are used in combination with reconstructed words for those objects to determine where and when a protolanguage was spoken. A recent controversial example is Jane Hill's 2001 work on Proto-Uto-Aztecan (PUA), which places this speech community in southern Mexico based on proposed reconstructions of PUA maize-farming vocabulary combined with archaeological evidence that maize was first domesticated in this region (see Beekman and Christensen [2003] and Merrill et al. [2009] for dissenting views).

Despite its attractive features, even this method has its shortcomings. First, it relies upon a fairly complete knowledge of archaeology and language across a broad area. Hill's (2001) placement of PUA in southern Mexico, for example, relies on accurate reconstruction of subgroups and lexicons across a far-flung language family and on archaeological evidence suggesting that maize was first domesticated in this region. Second, even when a given innovation is reconstructible to a protolanguage, this does not necessarily mean that the innovation was invented among speakers of this language. For example, Hill 2007 argues that much of the PUA maize vocabulary derives from contact with Oto-Manguean-speakers; thus we cannot associate the PUA speech community with the archaeological sites where the oldest domesticated maize has been found. So even if Hill's model is correct, it does not necessarily tell us which archaeological sites were occupied by PUA-speakers.

Linguists have used each of the methods reviewed above to correlate archaeology and language, and it is clear that each method can produce plausible results in certain situations. However, these methods have conspicuously failed in situations where a number of ethnic groups speaking unrelated languages have occupied a homogeneous physiographic and ecological region and shared similar technologies. The Pueblo region of the U.S. Southwest is a quintessential case of this situation, where none of the methods reviewed above have produced convincing links between archaeology and language. Indeed, despite nearly a century of effort (Davis 1959; Ellis 1967; Ford et al. 1927; (p.116) Gregory and Wilcox 2008; Hale and Harris 1979; Mera 1935; Reed 1949; Trager 1967; Wendorf and Reed 1955) and despite the relatively shallow time depths involved, no consensus exists about how Pueblo languages relate to various Ancestral Pueblo archaeological complexes in the southwest. To tackle situations like this, we need a method that seeks interpenetrating evidence that is strongly conserved in language, is not determined by environment or technology, and is expressed directly in material culture. I suggest that conceptual metaphors can provide such evidence.

What is Conceptual Metaphor?

In the subfield of linguistics known as cognitive linguistics, metaphor is a cognitive process through which an abstract concept is understood in terms of more a concrete concept (Kövecses 2002; Lakoff 1987, 1993; Lakoff and Johnson 1980, 1999). Metaphors are motivated by correspondences in the image-schema structure of two domains of experience that lead to a mapping of entities, properties, and relations from the more concrete source domain to the more abstract target domain. This mapping makes it possible for one to understand the target domain using the structure provided by the source domain. A conceptual metaphor is a conventionalized cognitive mapping of this type that is used unreflectively in everyday thinking, reasoning, and speaking. In the remainder of this essay, I will use the terms “metaphor” and “conceptual metaphor” interchangeably, unless stated otherwise.

As an example, readers of this chapter know what I am doing when I “lay the foundations of my argument” because English-speaking academics have internalized the metaphor arguments are buildings, and of course no building can stand without a solid foundation (the use of small caps to indicate conceptual metaphors is a convention established by Lakoff and Johnson [1980]). If one thinks for a moment about the language we use in discussing research, one will see that it is actually very difficult for us to even think about scholarly discourse without using more general and abstract metaphors, such as mental processes are physical processes. This is exactly the point. The use of concrete experience to conceptualize and reason about more abstract phenomena is a fundamental mechanism of human cognition.

Most of us notice the novel metaphors that make poetry so concise and meaningful, but we also use hundreds of conventional metaphors unconsciously and automatically in everyday thinking and communicating. These conventional metaphors are part of the cognitive unconscious of our culture. Metaphors that are rooted in basic bodily experience, such as anger is heat, may be universal (see Kövecses 2002). However, other metaphors vary (p.117) significantly across cultures because people have different experiences: they live in a variety of environments and have different economies, histories, cultures, and technologies. Nevertheless, cross-cultural variation in conceptual metaphors is limited by the fact that all humans live on the earth and share the same basic physiology. So even though humans readily recognize correlations in diverse realms of experience, we simply cannot create conceptual metaphors that lack a foundation in bodily experience and direct perceptions of the world or secondhand knowledge of it. Thus, conceptual metaphors are neither universal and objective nor radically relative and subjective.

Cognitive linguistics is a subfield of linguistics that focuses on the conceptual imagery expressed in everyday language use. Three findings of this field suggest that expressions of conceptual metaphor should have the same structure in everyday speech and material culture: (1) speech expresses conventional metaphors in a coherent and systematic way; (2) this systematicity derives from the nature of metaphor and not language per se; and (3) speech is only one medium through which metaphors are expressed. Based on these facts, it appears reasonable to propose that the conceptual metaphors of a community can become embedded in its language and materialized in the form, decoration, and use of the objects its members create. If in fact metaphor is a common denominator between language and material culture, we have an opportunity to relate protolanguages to archaeological complexes by studying the metaphors that are embedded in these two forms of human expression.

Metaphor in Linguistic Prehistory

In 1990, Eve Sweetser presented a landmark study of Indo-European perception verbs that showed that historical changes in the meanings of these words follow a regular pattern, generally from concrete to abstract. Verbs for the physical act of seeing regularly came to refer to knowledge and intellection (e.g. Greek eĩdon, “see,” → English idea); verbs for the physical act of hearing came to refer to listening or obeying (Greek klúo, “hear,” → English listen and Danish lystre, “obey”); verbs for the act of smelling or tasting came to refer to personal likes or dislikes (the Latin root meaning “touch” → English taste, from the French tâter, “to touch or try”); and verbs for touch came to refer to emotions or feelings (Classical Greek aísthe: ma, “object of perception” → Modern Greek “feeling, emotion”) (Sweetser 1990). From these patterns, Sweetser hypothesized that for several millennia, people in Indo-European speech communities have utilized the metaphor the mind is the body to conceptualize cognitive and emotional aspects of experience in terms of physical sensation. (p.118) Sweetser thus showed that semantic change in one particular area of the lexicon was not haphazard or idiosyncratic but rather followed a regular pattern, the basis of which was a specific conceptual metaphor.

Sweetser did not examine whether the mind-as-body metaphor is part of the cultural inheritance of Indo-Europeans or is in fact universal. It is quite possibly universal, as it draws upon basic biological experiences that all humans share. What is more important for present purposes, however, is that Sweetser's methods can be used to reconstruct metaphors that are not so universal and may in fact be restricted to specific ancestral speech communities. This in turn creates opportunities for correlating archaeology and language by interrelating protometaphors embedded in language with those expressed in material culture. In this section I will first outline several methods for reconstructing protometaphors through historical semantic analysis. I will also illustrate each method using examples from Kiowa-Tanoan languages (language data sources are listed in Table 6.4).

The first method for reconstructing protometaphors is through etymology, especially the concepts brought together in coining compound words. Conceptual metaphors often provide the motivation for linking dissimilar concepts in coining new terms. Because the purpose of language is communication, it would be counterproductive to coin a new term based on a novel metaphor. It would be more effective to make use of widely shared if not conventional metaphors. Thus, we can infer that a metaphor implied by the “literal” translation of a compound word was conventional in the speech community at the time the term was coined. An example of this from Tewa is the word W ÔS~».This word is used today to describe a pitched roof (Martinez 1982), but it analyzes literally as “basket of timbers” (t?ún, “coiled basket” + phe, “stick, timber,” + di,“of”). The etymology of this word thus indicates that the metaphor roofs are baskets existed in the Tewa speech community at the time this term was coined, regardless of whether or not this concept remains active in Tewa culture today.

The second aspect of language that allows the reconstruction of protometaphors is polysemy, or the relationships among multiple senses of words. Metaphor is often involved in extending the senses of a word, in which case the metaphor will be apparent in the related meanings. In this case, we can infer that the metaphor was conventional in the speech community at the time the extended senses of the word became conventional. An example, again drawn from Tewa, is the multiple senses of p'o:kwin. The core sense of this word is “lake” because this is its primary meaning in Tewa and the word incorporates the Tewa term for water (SnR).Yet the Tewa term can also be applied to the emergence place, a kiva, or a ceremonial bowl. The reason for this is that (p.119) in Tewa belief, the original people emerged from a lake at the beginning of time and the kiva is a representation of this emergence place (cf. p'o: kwikhoyi “lake roof-hatch”). In addition, the primary object of male ceremonial leaders in Tewa villages is a ceremonial bowl (p'o: kwingéh,“lake-place”; p'o: kwis

Using Cognitive Semantics to Relate Mesa Verde Archaeology to Modern Pueblo Languages
wéh,“lake-bowl”) that is filled with water and used to represent p'o: kwin during ceremonies. Also, the souls of Tewa people are believed to become ancestral cloud-beings (ókhuwa, “cloud-being”; cf. okhúwá,“cloud”) after death and to dwell under the surface of lakes. Tewas in fact refer to the dead as p'o: wąhą, which translates literally as “water-wind-breath” (Laski 1958). A ruin, then, is the dwelling place of ancestors who have become clouds, and thus it is appropriate to consider ruins p'o: win as well. The metaphor that links these multiple senses together is ancestors are water, and this concept must have been present in the Tewa speech community at the time these extended senses of p' o:win developed.

The third aspect of language through which one can reconstruct conceptual metaphors from linguistic data is semantic change in specific words within a language family. This method is an extension of the polysemy approach, but in this case one pays attention to semantic change within cognate sets across the languages of a language family. Metaphor is again commonly involved in the replacement of an older sense of a word by a newer sense. So when the older and newer senses can be identified through comparison of cognates, one can posit the metaphor that motivated the change among speakers of the innovative language. For example, it is clear that the metaphor people are corn has some antiquity within the Kiowa-Tanoan language family because the meanings of Kiowa-Tanoan terms for body parts appear to have been extended to parts of the corn plant over time. For example, the Proto-Kiowa-Tanoan word *kh originally referred to skin or hide, but it also refers to corn husk in Tewa (see Ortman 2009). Additional reflexes of people are corn are scattered throughout Kiowa-Tanoan dialects. For example, the Tewa corn mother, a perfect ear of corn wrapped with feathers and beads, is called khųlųη?aa or “corn-clothed” (Parsons 1974 [1929];Robbins et al. 1916), and Jemezį, “child,” can also mean “seed,” “grain,” or “bean.” These examples illustrate that metaphorical relationships among people and corn have been part of Pueblo culture for quite some time.

As very little historical linguistic study has focused specifically on conceptual reconstruction using the methods outlined here, the strengths and limitations of such work still need to be worked out through review of and debate about the results of specific studies. Several caveats are initially apparent. First, conceptual reconstruction is subject to the same methodological issues involved in all linguistic reconstruction, including the replacement of (p.120) vocabulary, the limitations of the data, and the abilities of the analyst. Second, no studies have been done to determine how faithfully or regularly the metaphors of a speech community actually become embedded in its language. So at this point we cannot rule out the possibility that at least some conventional metaphors of past speech communities have faded without leaving a residue in descendant languages. Third, no studies have been done to examine how readily metaphors spread across language boundaries, whether metaphors involving certain domains are more or less likely to spread, or whether it is possible to distinguish the natal language in which a metaphor was invented from the languages into which it was adopted. Fourth, as is the case for all linguistic reconstruction, conceptual reconstruction can yield information only about the relative age of a metaphor. To establish the absolute time depth of a reconstructed metaphor, one must rely on correlations with the archaeological record. Fifth, when working with poorly documented languages, it can be difficult to distinguish polysemic words, which potentially reflect a metaphor, from homonyms, which represent distinct words that are phonetically similar as an accident of history.

Finally, if the goal is to relate protolanguages to archaeological complexes, only certain metaphors are likely to be effective. For example, Kövecses (2002) shows that the human body is a near-universal source domain for metaphors, and thus we might expect to find metaphors that use the body as a source domain embedded in most languages. Other aspects of the world, including the weather, seasons, plants, and animals, have experiential properties that can potentially be perceived in similar ways by people in the same environment, even if they have different languages and cultures. Such entities may therefore become source domains of similar metaphors independently in several languages. It is also important to recognize that certain metaphors are more likely than others to be transmitted along with technological innovations and thus will not be especially useful. For example, people are corn is common among maize agricultural societies of North America and is documented in the ethnographic literatures of the Hopi (Black 1984), Tewa (Ortiz 1969), Huichol (Shelton 1996), Nahua (Sandstrom 1991), Mixtec (Monaghan 1995), and Maya (Carlsen 1997). Due to its widespread distribution, this metaphor is of little use for correlating archaeology and language.

The metaphors that are most likely to be useful, then, are those that incorporate material culture items as either source or target domains. In addition, metaphors involving relatively new objects relative to the time depth of the attempted correlation are more likely to be restricted to a single language or group of closely related languages. People create and use objects within specific cultural traditions, and archaeologists can find these objects, define their (p.121) distributions in time and space, and learn quite a bit about the technology and social relations involved in making and using them. Also, as we shall see, it is now possible to identify metaphors that utilize material culture in the archaeological record directly.

Metaphor in Archaeology

The identification of metaphor in language is relatively straightforward, but for the purposes of this chapter, the critical question is whether such metaphors can be identified reliably using archaeological evidence, independent of ethnographic analogy or linguistic reconstruction. Recent work shows that it is in fact possible to do this by comparing archaeological expressions of a proposed metaphor to the structure of metaphoric expressions in figurative speech. Research on figurative speech in cognitive linguistics suggests six generalizations about the structure of metaphoric expressions that ultimately derive from the ways humans manipulate mental imagery (see Ortman 2000, 2008a, 2009). Table 6.1 presents these properties and an example of each in everyday American English. These generalizations are critical because they provide something like “grammatical” rules for metaphoric expressions in material culture. In other words, material expressions of a proposed metaphor should not contradict these rules if the metaphor really was conventional in the minds of the people who created these artifacts. If one analyzes a corpus of material culture in terms of a given metaphor hypothesis and finds that expressions of the proposed metaphor are consistent with the structure of figurative thought in general, then it can be said that one has supported that hypothesis. A researcher can also reject this hypothesis based on patterns that are inconsistent with this structure. The process is more involved than that of identifying metaphors embedded in language, and the approach may be possible only for well-preserved and well-studied archaeological records, but I believe it is possible to make strong inferences regarding material metaphors following this methodology.

Example: POTTERY VESSELS ARE BASKETS

In the following paragraphs I illustrate how one can reconstruct conceptual metaphors from archaeological evidence by reviewing my previous work on a metaphor that was routinely expressed in the material culture of Ancestral Pueblo people of the Mesa Verde region in the U.S. Southwest (Figure 6.1). The linguistic affinity of this archaeological complex is also the focus of the case study linking archaeology and language that follows.

(p.122)

Table 6.1. Six properties of conceptual metaphor

Property

Brief Explanation

English example

Directionality principle

Conceptual metaphor is a cognitive, point-for-point mapping of image-schematic structure from a concrete source domain to an abstract target domain.

TIME IS MONEY, but money is not time.

Superordinate principle

Metaphors exist at the superordinate level of classification but are expressed at the basic level of concrete imagery.

Expressions of LIFE IS A JOURNEY involve different modes of transportation: “his marriage is off track”; “she is drifting.”

Invariance principle

Image-schematic properties of the source domain that contradict properties of the target domain are not mapped.

LIFE IS A JOURNEY, but you cannot go back and take the other “fork in the road” later.

Constitutive principle

Metaphors do more than express the results of thinking; they constitute conventionalized ways of thinking and reasoning.

POLITICS IS WAR: “give ground,” “attack,” “defend,” “strategize,” “army of volunteers,” etc.

Blending principle

Multiple source domains can be combined for mapping onto a single target when they share image-schematic structure.

“Brainstorming” is a useful activity, even though a storming brain is fanciful.

Experiential principle

Metaphors derive from the concrete bodily experiences of individuals in specific physical and social contexts.

ANGER IS HEATED FLUID IN A CONTAINER: Your body temperature rises when you get “steaming mad” and “blow your top.”

The Ancestral Pueblo occupation of the Mesa Verde region (A.D. 600–1280) occurred in two roughly 300-year cycles with a century of low population density in between (Varien et al. 2007). The second cycle began in the early decades of the A.D. 1000s and continued until A.D. 1280, when Pueblo people left the region permanently. Throughout this second cycle, Mesa Verde region pottery was decorated in a thoroughly geometric style that featured designs in black paint on a white-slipped surface. Many researchers have noted parallels between the painted designs on this pottery and the woven objects recovered from contemporaneous cliff dwellings in southeast Utah and in Mesa Verde National Park (e.g., Brew 1946; Holmes 1886; Nordenskiold 1979 [1893]). I have studied these correlations and found abundant evidence that this stylistic unity derived from a conceptualization of painted pottery vessels as woven objects, especially coiled and plaited baskets (Ortman 2000). Patterns in Mesa (p.123)
Using Cognitive Semantics to Relate Mesa Verde Archaeology to Modern Pueblo Languages

Figure 6.1. The Mesa Verde region and contemporary Pueblo lands in the U.S. Southwest.

(p.124) Verde pottery designs exhibit the structure we would expect to find under the hypothesis that pottery surfaces were imagined as baskets. I summarize this evidence below (also see Ortman 2000, 2009).

The first generalization concerning the structure of metaphoric expression, the directionality principle, states that conceptual projection usually proceeds from a relatively structured source to a more abstract target. This is why time is space but space is not time; Spring can be just around the corner, you can be sitting just around the corner, but you cannot be sitting spring from me. Mesa Verde region pottery is consistent with this principle because more than two dozen features of woven objects, including incidental details, surface textures, design structures, and specific motifs that emerge as by-products of various weaving methods, are represented by analogs in painted pottery decoration. These correspondences could not have resulted from weavers inventing new weaving methods to represent painted pottery designs as woven textures. In addition, each of these analogous features appeared in pottery designs only after appearing first in weaving. Thus, weaving must have been the source domain and pottery the target domain of this metaphor.

The second generalization, which I call the superordinate principle, states that conceptual metaphors exist in the brain at relatively abstract levels of categorization but are expressed at the basic level of concrete mental imagery. Thus, in English, life is a journey, but we usually express the concept using concrete images of planes, trains, and automobiles, as in “his career is off track.” Mesa Verde pottery is consistent with this principle because imagery from four different weaving methods—coiled basketry, plaited basketry, non-loom weaving, and loom-based weaving—all appear in pottery designs. In other words, the conceptual relationship was between pottery and weaving as craft media, not between specific vessel forms and/or weaving methods.

The third property, which I call the invariance principle, states that aspects of a source domain that are contradicted by the inherent structure of the target domain are not mapped. This is why even if life is a journey and we can “choose the path less traveled,” we cannot go back to this fork in the road at a later date and choose the other path. Even if a road exists before and after a person has traveled it, time only moves forward, and thus it would make no sense to map the fact that one can go back to a fork in a road and take the other path onto our experience of life. Mesa Verde pottery is consistent with this principle because, although aspects of loom-woven cloth were incorporated into designs painted on vessel interiors (see below), rim decorations and framing patterns on pottery derive solely from basketry and not from warp-weft weaves. This is expectable because loom-based weaving does not produce actual containers, as basket-weaving does.

(p.125) The fourth property, which I call the constitutive principle, states that a conceptual metaphor is not just a way of expressing thought but is in fact a conventionalized way of thinking and reasoning. In other words, everyday thinking and reasoning normally occurs through the operation of conventional metaphors. This is why it is very difficult to conceive of time without using the framework provided by space or of intellectual argument without the framework of a building. Our literal understanding of concepts such as space and argument are actually quite impoverished. Metaphor helps us “flesh out” these concepts so that we can think and reason about them in more detail (Lakoff and Johnson 1999). Mesa Verde pottery is consistent with this principle because 90 percent of all pottery vessels were decorated using textile imagery over a two-century period (A.D. 1060–1280) and innovations in pottery painting that became popular throughout this period can all be traced back to weaving innovations.

The fifth property, which I call the blending principle, states that two conceptual domains with equal inherent structure can be blended to produce new concepts that are physically impossible but conceptually coherent (Fauconnier 1997; Fauconnier and Turner 1994). This is why you can have a “brainstorming” session with your colleagues, even though a storming brain is literally ridiculous. The connection between thunderstorms and brain activity that motivates this concept is electricity, which occurs in the form of lightning in storms and firing synapses in the brain. This correspondence promotes the blending of additional conceptual structure, making it possible to imagine a lightning bolt as a “flash of insight.” Mesa Verde pottery is consistent with this principle because designs created in warp-weft weaves were transferred to pottery surfaces via blending with basket imagery. As a result, framing patterns, which represent the texture of coiled baskets, are common on vessels with “banded” designs derived from coiled basketry but rare on pottery vessels with “draped” designs derived from plaited basketry.

Finally, the sixth property, which I call the experiential principle, states that metaphors are grounded in the direct bodily experiences of individuals in a given social, cultural, and environmental context. This is why the concept of a computer virus is possible only in a society that knows about both computers and viruses. Mesa Verde pottery is consistent with this principle because there is regional variation in pottery designs that correlates with potters’ exposure to different weaving industries: pottery designs derived from loom-woven cotton cloth are more common in areas where cotton was actually grown and woven into fabrics, whereas pottery designs derived from coiled and plaited basketry are more common in areas where cotton was not grown and most fabrics were imported.

(p.126) The archaeological patterns reviewed above clearly illustrate all six generalizations about the structure of metaphoric expressions identified in cognitive linguistic research. If this concept was not conventional among the creators of the Mesa Verde archaeological complex, the likelihood of an analyst identifying so many patterns consistent with these principles as they relate to the specific metaphor proposed would seem to be quite low. Based on this evidence, then, the inference that decorated pottery vessels were viewed as mirror images of woven objects, especially baskets, appears quite secure. In addition, based on the pervasiveness of weaving imagery in Mesa Verde pottery and the number of generations over which this metaphor structured pottery design, it appears likely that this concept was conventional, widely shared, and used unreflectively. One might therefore expect this metaphor to have influenced the language of Mesa Verde people.

With methods for reconstructing conceptual metaphors from archaeological and linguistic evidence in hand, I now turn to a case study that pulls together many of the examples discussed to this point.

Mesa Verde Archaeology: A Case Study

In my previous work I have focused on the decipherment of several metaphors that are expressed in the archaeological record of the Mesa Verde region in southwest Colorado and southeast Utah. The Ancestral Pueblo inhabitants of this region created the famous Mesa Verde archaeological complex (Noble 2006; Varien and Wilshusen 2002), which culminated in massive stone pueblos and cliff dwellings, including Sand Canyon Pueblo and Cliff Palace, and then suddenly ended with migration of the entire remaining population around A.D. 1280 (Lipe 1995; Varien et al. 2007). The most recent population estimates for the Mesa Verde region suggest that more than 20,000 people had migrated or died by the end of this occupation (Varien et al. 2007). The central question that has occupied archaeologists since the nineteenth century is what the fate of this population was. Because it is most likely that some Mesa Verde people died in place and others dispersed to the southeast, south, and southwest, perhaps the more appropriate question is whether the language of Mesa Verde people was ancestral to any extant Pueblo language or group of languages.

In the following case study I provide an affirmative answer to this question by reconstructing and correlating metaphors expressed in Mesa Verde material culture and modern Pueblo languages. First, I will summarize the results of previous research indicating that a variety of phenomena were conceptualized using container metaphors in Mesa Verde culture. Then I will examine (p.127) Pueblo language data for evidence of the metaphorical expressions apparent in Mesa Verde material culture. I will show that these metaphorical expressions are all embedded in the Tewa language but not in other Pueblo languages. This suggests that an ancestral form of Tewa was spoken in the Mesa Verde region at the time of the final migrations.

Table 6.2 summarizes the evidence supporting my deciphering of several metaphors that were expressed in Mesa Verde material culture of the A.D. 1200s. Each of these metaphors utilized container imagery as the source domain. I have presented reconstructions of these metaphors in previous publications (Ortman 2000,2006,2008a, 2009; Ortman and Bradley 2002), and readers interested in the details should consult these sources. Because each of these metaphors is somewhat generic, it will prove useful to break each one down into a list of specific metaphorical expressions (Table 6.3). A brief accounting of these expressions follows.

As I discussed earlier in this chapter, the pottery style of the Mesa Verde complex was thoroughly geometric and derived from a conceptualization of painted pottery vessels as woven objects (Ortman 2000), especially coiled and plaited basketry. I have also found that cooking pots were manufactured using techniques analogous to those used in coiled and twined basketry and present basket-surface textures in clay (Ortman 2006, 2009).

Mesa Verde people also conceptualized buildings as containers (Ortman 2008a). For example, the central symbolic structure of each household was a round, subterranean kiva (Figure 6.2d). Among the buildings on which decoration is preserved, a common theme is a painted geometric band design identical to the designs painted on the interior surfaces of pottery bowls. A number of granaries were decorated as pottery seed jars, and the cribbed roofs of most kivas mirror the appearance and construction of an overturned coiled basket.

The world also appears to have been conceptualized as nested containers in Mesa Verde culture. A second common theme of architectural mural decoration consists of dado patterns where the lower portion is red, the upper portion is tan to white, and sets of projecting triangles and dots run along the boundary between the two colors. Representations of the sun and moon in the upper field of some of these compositions demonstrate that dado murals depict the horizon with projecting landforms. This landscape imagery is combined with container imagery in a number of compositions (Figure 6.2e–f). Woven fabrics appear in the sky of landscape murals inside several structures that appear to have been used for calendrical observation of the sun and moon (Malville and Munson 1998; Newsome 2005), and landscape imagery is combined with pottery-bowl and basket imagery in several kivas, suggesting that (p.128)

Table 6.2. Container metaphors in Mesa Verde material culture

PROPERTY

POTTERY VESSELS ARE BASKETS (Ortman 2000)

BUILDINGS ARE CONTAINERS (Ortman 2008a)

THE WORLD CONSISTS OF CONTAINERS (Ortman 2008a)

THE COMMUNITY IS A SERVING BOWL (Ortman 2009; Ortman and Bradley 2002)

Directionality principle

Incidental details and surface textures of weavings are represented on pottery; analogous features appear first in weaving and later in pottery.

Pottery designs were painted on buildings but architectural imagery was not painted on pots.

Physiographic features not represented on pottery or basketry.

Serving-bowl imagery expressed in village architecture but village architecture not represented on bowls.

Superordinate principle

Imagery from four different weaving methods, including coiled basketry, plaited basketry, nonloom weaving, and loom-based weaving, was mapped onto pottery.

Pottery bowls were mapped onto pit-structure walls, coiled baskets onto pit-structure roofs, and seed jars onto granaries.

Loom weaving mapped onto celestial motion; coiled basket mapped onto sky; pottery bowl mapped onto earth; ollas and mugs mapped onto emergence place.

Bowls mapped onto plazas and villages.

Invariance principle

Rim decorations and framing patterns on pottery derive from coiled basketry and not from loom-based weaving.

Banded pottery-design motifs were transferred to walls; all-over pottery-design motifs were not.

Blended landscape/container imagery occurs primarily on interior walls of buildings.

Houses built outside the enclosing walls are oriented north to south rather than inward.

Constitutive principle

Designs using nontextile imagery are rare; cooking pot construction techniques correspond with coiling and twining.

Kiva roofs were normally constructed to look like coiled baskets, even though it was not functionally necessary.

Loom-weaving imagery used to model celestial motion.

Villages were planned or modified to correspond with a pottery-bowl image; the central spring area was left undeveloped.

Blending principle

On pottery, framing patterns are common in “banded” layouts from coiled basketry but rare in “draped” layouts from plaited basketry.

Designs on walls derived from pottery, which in turn derived from blended weaving imagery.

Container and landscape imagery blended in mural paintings.

The imagery of people and corn are blended together in serving bowl villages.

Experiential principle

Regional variation in pottery designs correlates with the exposure of potters to different weaving industries.

A number of correspondences exist between the form and use of containers and the form and use of buildings.

Properties of earth, sky, and celestial motion correspond to basketry, pottery, and loom weaving, respectively.

Properties of canyon-rim settings, villages, and community organization correspond to the manufacture, form, and use of pottery serving bowls.

(p.129)

Table 6.3. Expressions of container metaphors in Mesa Verde material culture

POTTERY VESSELS ARE BASKETS

POTTERY BOWLS ARE COILED/PLAITED BASKETS

COOKING POTS ARE COILED/TWINED BASKETS

BUILDINGS ARE CONTAINERS

GRANARIES ARE SEED JARS

KIVA WALLS ARE POTTERY BOWLS

KIVA ROOFS ARE COILED BASKETS

The WORLD CONSISTS OF CONTAINERS

THE SKY IS WOVEN

THE EARTH IS A POTTERY BOWL

THE UNDERWORLD IS A WATER-FILLED VESSEL

THE COMMUNITY IS A POTTERY VESSEL

VILLAGES ARE POTTERY BOWLS

PLAZAS ARE POTTERY BOWLS

kivas were imagined as microcosms of a world consisting of an earthen pottery bowl below and a woven vegetal basket sky above (Ortman 2006,2008a, 2009). In addition, it appears that pottery vessels were used to represent the underworld. Many Ancestral Pueblo kivas contain a small round hole in the floor aligned with the hearth. This feature is called the sipapu, after the Hopi term, and represents the path of emergence from the underworld. During the A.D. 1200s, these features were often created using an olla neck or a mug with the bottom broken out. This suggests that the underworld was conceptualized as a pottery vessel containing water.

Finally, during the middle A.D. 1200s, Mesa Verde people developed a distinctive type of village architecture that presented the community as a pottery serving bowl. These villages were built around canyon heads containing springs and had a distinctive roundish bowl shape (Figure 6.3). The plazas within these villages were also roundish and in some cases concave. Finally, there is strong evidence that the inhabitants of these villages participated in communal feasts and maintained communal food stores to a much greater extent than did the inhabitants of earlier villages (Ortman 2009; Ortman and Bradley 2002; Potter and Ortman 2004). Thus, the form and use of pottery bowls in daily domestic life appears to have become a model for community organization and architecture during the final decades of occupation.

An important point about the archaeological evidence summarized here is that the suite of container imagery expressed in A.D. 1200s Mesa Verde material culture forms a coherent complex only in the Mesa Verde region. With this knowledge in mind, I now examine modern Pueblo languages to (p.130)

Using Cognitive Semantics to Relate Mesa Verde Archaeology to Modern Pueblo Languages

Figure 6.2. Container imagery in Mesa Verde region material culture. a) plain-weave skirt; b) coiled basket; c) painted bowl with band design and blanket motif on exterior; d) cutaway of kiva with pottery band mural and cribbed roof; e) kiva mural combining pottery-band design below and sky imagery above; f) horizon scene with blanket image in the sky.

(p.131)
Using Cognitive Semantics to Relate Mesa Verde Archaeology to Modern Pueblo Languages

Figure 6.3. Sand Canyon Pueblo: an example of a bowl-shaped canyonrim village.

(p.132) determine how widely linguistic residues of these material metaphors are embedded in Pueblo languages. If in fact this complex of metaphors is embedded in only one language, it would suggest that Mesa Verde Puebloans spoke an earlier version of this language.

To evaluate the extent to which Mesa Verde container metaphors are embedded in modern Pueblo languages, Table 6.4 compiles vocabulary related to the source and target domains of these metaphors across seven Pueblo languages: Taos, Isleta, Tewa, Towa, Keres, Hopi, and Zuni. It is important to note that these data reflect only what I have been able to glean from the sources cited at the bottom of the table and that I have a much deeper knowledge of the Tanoan languages than I do of the others. It is likely that additional relevant words and meanings of words are missing from the extant literature or are beyond my expertise to identify. It is also likely that more extensive mining of the ethnographic literature and published Native-language texts would turn up additional relevant data. As a result, it is possible that additional evidence of embedded metaphors exists in these languages but is not apparent in the table. However, despite these problems, a close look at the table reveals that nearly all the metaphorical expressions identified in the Mesa Verde archaeological complex do have reflexes in the Tewa language, whereas the existing data suggest other Pueblo languages contain little to no evidence for most of these expressions.

POTTERY VESSELS ARE BASKETS is embedded in most of these languages. It may be implied by the Taos compound tʼɨod-mulu-, which appears to refer equally to a fired-clay water jar or a pitch-lined basket. It is also clearly implied by the Tewa word for pottery, nat?ú, which is a compound of nan, “earth, clay,” and t?ú, “coiled baskets.” The existence of this word indicates that the implied metaphor was active in the Tewa speech community when this word was coined. A Keres term for medicine bowl (ʼuwaistʼa'nih), which appears to analyze as “pottery basket-bowl,” may also indicate that this metaphor was once active in the Keres speech community. Finally, a Zuni term for cooking pot recorded by Cushing (1883), wo liak'ia te'ni tuliaton-e, appears to analyze as “coiled pottery cooking basket” and suggests that POTTERY VESSELS ARE BASKETS was once active in this speech community as well.

The remaining Mesa Verde metaphors are embedded almost exclusively in Tewa. KIVA ROOFS ARE COILED BASKETS is reflected directly in the Tewa word for “pitched roof,” t?úphá?di? (t?ún, coiled basket,” + phe, “stick, timber,” + di, “of”), despite the fact that the roofs of kivas in protohistoric Tewa sites in New Mexico do not have the cribbed basket-shaped appearance of older Mesa Verde kiva roofs. KIVA WALLS ARE POTTERY BOWLS is also implied by the multiple senses of p'o:kwin. As mentioned earlier, the original sense of (p.133) p' o:kwin is “lake,” but this term is also used to refer to the emergence place, a kiva, and a ceremonial bowl. These extended senses form what Lakoff 1987 calls a semantic chain. In Tewa belief, the first people emerged from beneath the surface of a lake (?okhąngep' o:kwinge, “sandy lake place”), so the first link in this chain is the underworld is a lake. The second link is provided by the kiva, which is taken as a model for the lake of emergence. Linguistic evidence of the lake is a kiva can be seen in the compound p'o: kwikhoyi, “lake roof-hatch” (cf. khoyi,“roof-hatch of a kiva”). Finally, the lake is modeled as an actual container: a water-filled bowl (p'o:kwingéh, “lake-place,” or p'o:kwis

Using Cognitive Semantics to Relate Mesa Verde Archaeology to Modern Pueblo Languages
wéh, “lake-bowl”) is used to represent p'o:kwin in ceremonies (Laski 1958; Ortiz 1969). These metaphors, which reflect connections between pottery bowls, kivas, and the underworld in Mesa Verde material culture, are embedded as a group only in Tewa.

THE SKY IS WOVEN is expressed in Tewa by

Using Cognitive Semantics to Relate Mesa Verde Archaeology to Modern Pueblo Languages
,“dew basket” (póvi, “flower, cloud” +
Using Cognitive Semantics to Relate Mesa Verde Archaeology to Modern Pueblo Languages
,“blue-green,” + t?ún, “coiled basket”), a term for the sky used in poetry (Spinden 1933) and in a song performed during the basket dance (Kurath 1970). This term clearly reflects the imagery of weaving associated with the sky in Mesa Verde material culture. The earth is a pottery bowl is also reflected in the Tewa form bé: ?e~bú:?ú, “small~large low roundish place.” This alternation reflects a pattern of sound symbolism that developed in Tewa after it became a distinct language and in which the manner of articulation of vowels reflects the size of entities (Harrington 1910; Ortman 2008b). Thus, one might expect bé: ?e~bú: ?u, “small~large low roundish place” to have descended from a single ancestral form, and in fact this ancestral form turns out to be the Proto-Tanoan word *búlu,“pottery bowl” (Ortman 2009). Thus, among Tewa-speakers, the earth is a pottery bowl was involved in the application of an old word for “pottery bowl” to bowl-shaped topographic features.

Finally THE COMMUNITY IS A POTTERY VESSEL is reflected in additional meanings attached to bé: ?e~bú: ?ú. The original meaning of Proto-Tanoan *búlu survives in the Tewa form be:, “pottery bowl,” and bú: ?u is also used to refer to villages and to plazas (e.g., P’oqwoge?imbú?ú, “San Ildefonso [water cuts down through] plaza”; Harrington 1916).Bú: ?ú is also compounded with pín, “heart, middle” to form a more formal term for plaza, búpíngéh (lit.“large bowl of the heart/middle”). Although the Tewa and Taos words for “plaza” contain cognate forms for “heart” and may imply Proto-Tiwa-Tewa *pian-, “plaza, heart-middle place,” metaphoric reflexes of Proto-Tanoan *búlu are not apparent in Tiwa or Towa. These data thus suggest that even if the middle-place aspect of plazas dates from Proto-Tanoan times, the container aspect is a Tewa innovation. All of this indicates that THE COMMUNITY IS A (p.134) (p.135)

Using Cognitive Semantics to Relate Mesa Verde Archaeology to Modern Pueblo Languages

Table 6.4. Lexical data from seven Pueblo languages

Sources: Taos: Taos Cardfile, George L. Trager Papers, University of California, Irvine; Parsons (1936)

Isleta: Harrington 1920; Frantz and Gardner 1995

Tewa: Harrington 1909, 1916; Martinez 1982; Spinden 1933

Towa: Harper 1929; Laurel Watkins personal communication 2008, Yumitani 1998

Keres: Stirling 1942; Davis 1964; White 1962

Hopi:Hill 1998; Sekaquaptewa and Washburn 2004; Whorf 1953

Zuni: Cushing 1886; Newman 1958; Bunzel 1992

(p.136) SERVING BOWL influenced the Tewa language after it became distinct from other Tanoan languages.

Summary and Conclusions

Table 6.5 summarizes current evidence for expressions of Mesa Verde metaphors in Pueblo languages, based on my analysis of the data in Table 6.4. These data show that the complex of container metaphors identified in the Mesa Verde archaeological complex is enshrined in the modern Tewa language. Because of the detailed nature of these correspondences and the fact that several of these metaphors are not expressed in protohistoric Tewa material culture, it is difficult to imagine how these metaphors could have become embedded in the Tewa language if it had never been spoken in the Mesa Verde region. These correspondences thus make a strong case that the Mesa Verde complex was created by people who spoke an early form of Tewa and that the Tewa language was brought to the Rio Grande by immigrants from the Mesa Verde region in the A.D. 1200s.

It is equally important to note that the Mesa Verde container metaphor complex is not clearly enshrined in any other documented Pueblo language. POTTERY VESSELS ARE BASKETS does appear to have been widespread and perhaps reflects the widespread occurrence of the Mesa Verde style of decoration over a broad area between A.D. 1000 and 1280. Also, THE UNDERWORLD IS A WATER-FILLED VESSEL may predate the separation of Tiwa and Tewa as separate languages because this concept is also embedded in Isleta, where a water-filled pottery bowl (p'akwimp'a, “medicine bowl”; p'ahwié-‘ai, “ceremonial bowl,” lit. “lake-place”) is used to represent the lake of emergence, as it is in Tewa communities. However, the remaining concepts are not expressed in a precise way in any other Pueblo language. This is not to say that different metaphors are not embedded in these languages. As examples, the Zuni term a’po yan-e, “sky” (lit. “stone roof”) evokes the imagery of an overturned stone bowl, and several terms from Keres present buildings and altars as microcosms. Nevertheless, the specific metaphors these terms imply do not reflect those of the Mesa Verde complex or of the Tewa language. This second conclusion, based on negative evidence, strengthens the conclusion reached on the basis of positive evidence that the Mesa Verde complex was created by Proto-Tewa-speakers.

Several points arise from these conclusions. First, it appears that the metaphors enshrined in the Tewa language are expressed more thoroughly in the Mesa Verde region than they are in the Rio Grande, where Tewa-speakers live today. For example, ancestral Tewa villages in the Rio Grande are not (p.137)

Table 6.5. Expressions of Mesa Verde container metaphors in modern Pueblo languages

METAPHOR

Taos

Isleta

Tewa

Towa

Keres

Hopi

Zuni

POTTERY VESSELS ARE BASKETS

Yes

No

Yes

?

Yes

No

Yes

KIVA WALLS ARE POTTERY BOWLS

No

No

Yes

No

No

No

No

KIVA ROOFS ARE COILED BASKETS

No

No

Yes

?

No

No

No

VILLAGES ARE POTTERY BOWLS

No

No

Yes

No

No

No

No

PLAZAS ARE POTTERY BOWLS

No

No

Yes

No

No

No

No

THE SKY IS WOVEN

No

No

Yes

No

?

No

No

THE EARTH IS A POTTERY BOWL

?

Yes

Yes

?

?

No

No

THE UNDERWORLD IS A WATER-FILLED VESSEL

?

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

bowl shaped and do not occur in bowl-like physiographic settings. Rather, the houses in these villages are arranged to form rectilinear plazas and occur on benches above major floodplains (Anschuetz 2005; Fowles 2004). This pattern supports the notion that metaphors reconstructed through etymology, polysemy, and semantic change reveal residues of past conceptual systems that may persist in a language only as semantic fossils if the culture of its speakers has changed over time.

Second, recent material culture of other Pueblo communities expresses Mesa Verde metaphors more extensively than is suggested by their languages. For example, Hopi six-directions altars use a terraced medicine bowl to represent the world (Hieb 1979). This appears to be an expression of THE EARTH IS A POTTERY BOWL, but I have not been able to find any corresponding evidence of this conception embedded in the Hopi language. One possible interpretation of this evidence is that the use of a pottery bowl to represent the earth was brought to Hopi by Tewa-speaking immigrants at some point in the past.

This example illustrates why it is problematic to trace speech communities backward using correspondences between archaeological evidence and ethnographic ritual practices or poetry. Cultural diffusion can occur with relatively minor contact between peoples, whereas the semantic structure of a language can be transmitted only in cases of long-term intensive contact combined with extensive bilingualism (Ross 1997). Thus, the metaphors embedded in a language are a stronger reflection of linguistic heritage than are the metaphors expressed in current practices and discourse. This is especially true within a culture area, where one would expect extensive diffusion of practices but not necessarily the metaphors beneath the surface.

If this trial application appears promising, there are several directions one might pursue. For students of Pueblo history, it would be worthwhile to (p.138) examine the conceptual metaphors of other Ancestral Pueblo archaeological complexes to see if they are different from the Mesa Verde expressions and whether they are embedded in other Pueblo languages. There is also more linguistic field work to be done to compile lexical data across Pueblo languages in an effort to determine whether the semantic patterns identified in this preliminary study hold up to further scrutiny. Finally, it would be worthwhile to examine other lines of evidence related to the speech-community history suggested by this study (cf. Cordell 1995; Ortman 2009).

A number of more general studies should also be pursued. Ethnographic studies of the extent to which metaphors expressed in everyday discourse become embedded in language would be extremely helpful for the type of research proposed here, as would studies concerning the ease with which conceptual metaphors spread between speech communities, either through language directly or through other forms of figurative expression. Also, the conditions under which this method is the most useful for correlating archaeology and language should be worked out through examination of additional cases. Finally, a great advantage of the method developed here is that it suggests a direction in which linguists and archaeologists could join forces to study the evolution of conceptual systems in nonliterate societies. The realizations that both lexical semantics and material culture are regular and structured and that conceptual metaphor is the basis of this structure offer tremendous opportunities for the development of a historical anthropology of nonliterate societies. The ability to identify past episodes of population movement on the basis of archaeolinguistic expressions of conceptual metaphors is an important step in this direction.

Acknowledgments

This paper is an outgrowth of a presentation at the Fifth World Archaeological Congress in Washington, D.C. I would like to thank Lloyd Anderson for encouraging my participation in this conference and for encouraging me to pursue publication. I would also like to thank Graciela Cabana and Jeff Clark for inviting me to attend the interdisciplinary migration workshop and to contribute to the resulting volume. Scott Evans and Paul Ermigiotti rendered the line drawings in Figure 6.3.

(p.139) References

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